From early spring to late fall, hanging baskets are a great way to add flair to your outdoor space! They can brighten up a porch, spruce up a patio, and bring instant color and texture to any area of the landscape.
The only issue is keeping them alive and thriving for an entire season. We have all been there. You purchase or plant a gorgeous basket in the early spring, only to watch it wither away to near death by mid-summer. Before you know it, you are having to replace them just to keep your landscape in full color.
But with a little TLC and a few basic tips, it’s actually quite possible to keep hanging baskets in tip-top shape. Here are 5 great tips to help you keep your baskets in full color all summer long, and deep into fall as well!
5 Simple Tips To Keep Hanging Baskets Blooming
#1 Start Small. Whether you are buying or planting your own baskets, start small. Although those great big over-sized baskets might look beautiful in the store, they are going to be harder and harder to maintain as the summer progresses.
Hanging baskets and containers that are fully grown in early spring will be nearly impossible to keep through summer. Their roots have already expanded to fill most of the soil below, using up nearly all of the available nutrients. In addition, the root systems will be so thick, they have a hard time absorbing and retaining any water. This combination of low nutrients and water retention is usually the main culprit in mid-summer hanging basket failure.
If you are planting your own hanging baskets, be aware of this as well. Many are inclined to cram too many annual plants into baskets and containers to create a full look from the get-go. The problem is that plants then have no ability to expand their roots below with the competing roots of so many plants. They quickly become root bound, and result in baskets that require constant watering and fertilizing. Eventually, they cannot retain any nutrients at all, and fail.
#2 Pick The Right Space For Your Hanging Basket
Location, location, location! One of the biggest mistakes made with a hanging basket is to place it in a location that is not suitable for it’s plants.
Putting a basket full of shade-loving Impatiens in a hot, all-day sunny location is a recipe for disaster. So is placing a big ball of sun loving petunias on a shady porch.
Be sure to read basket and plant labels carefully. Select varieties of flowering annuals that will do best in full sun, partial sun, or shade based upon where you need them.
#3 Fertilize Regularly, And Lightly
Baskets and container plants are stuck with the soil they are planted with. There is no ability for roots to expand beyond the basket and find new sources of nutrition.
And with their big blooms and fast growth, they can use up the available nutrients quickly. To maintain health, put plants on a regular feeding schedule. To keep plants at full strength, use a combination of long-term, slow release fertilizers mixed into the top layer of soil, and small doses of liquid fertilizer watered into the soil every few weeks. Worm castings are an excellent choice for mixing into the top layer of soil in baskets and containers. They slowly release their nutrients to the soil, and help to retain moisture as well. Product Links : Worm Compost – Organic Liquid Fertilizer
Remember that when it comes to fertilizing, a little goes a long way. Too much fertilizer can cause plants to grow too fast, and you can end up with an overgrown, under-blooming, root-bound plant. See : Worm Castings, The Perfect Fertilizer
#4 Keep Up With Watering. The number one reason baskets and container plants fail is insufficient (or irregular) watering. By its very make-up, a hanging basket will dry out quicker than plants rooted in the soil. The wind and sun can easily dry the soil as it sits in the open, exposed to the elements.
Get in the habit of watering plants at a consistent time of day. Early morning is by far the best time to water. It not only helps plants take on the upcoming stress and heat of the day, but you have less chance of damage from the sun’s rays burning the foliage. You also have far less evaporation than if watering during the heat of the day.
#5 Remove Dead and Dying Blooms
Remove dead and dying blooms from plants on a regular basis. Doing this keeps the plant’s energy and resources focused on creating new blooms. If left on the plant, not only do they become an eyesore, they use up valuable resources that should be going to new growth and blooms.
Here’s to having your best hanging baskets ever this year!
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